From The Wall Street Journal

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will host Russia’s energy minister for a meeting in Washington next week, according to people familiar with the planning, putting the top energy officials from the world’s largest oil and gas producers in the same room at a time when relations between the countries are increasingly under the spotlight.

It is the latest outreach from President Donald Trump’s administration as it continues a push for better relations with Russia. White House national security adviser John Bolton will also travel to Russia this month to discuss a possible summit meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It isn’t clear what the administration’s goals are for a meeting with Russian Oil Minister Alexander Novak, but he will meet Mr. Perry at a time when Mr. Trump and several members of his team have been prodding other oil-producing countries to pump more. Russia and world’s other top producer, Saudi Arabia, have already begun pulling back from a deal to cut output that has sent oil prices to 3 ½-year highs and raised retail gasoline prices in the U.S. just ahead of national midterm elections.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, three days after the end of the current Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna and on the first day of the World Gas Conference taking place in Washington. The U.S. is also an increasing exporter of natural gas, competing with Russia in a global market where both have tried to use their exports as a way to influence or help political allies.

Trump associates’ relations with Russia, and any coordination in Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, have been the subject of a Justice Department investigation that has gone on for more than a year. That probe has produced 20 public indictments or guilty pleas, including more than a dozen Russians and several Trump campaign officials. Mr. Trump has denied having worked with Russia during the campaign.




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